Nadal no match for Djokovic as Serb bags 6th China Open title

Novak Djokovic (left) and Rafael Nadal after their final. It was the Serb's seventh win over the Spaniard in their last eight contests.
Novak Djokovic (left) and Rafael Nadal after their final. It was the Serb's seventh win over the Spaniard in their last eight contests.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

BEIJING • World No. 1 Novak Djokovic continued his recent dominance over Rafael Nadal, when he beat the Spaniard in the final of the China Open to win the tournament for the sixth time yesterday.

The Serb showed no mercy against the Spaniard, who was hampered by a foot problem in the second set, as he cruised to a 6-2, 6-2 victory at the National Tennis Centre in the Chinese capital.

"I played a great tournament overall and continued playing well today," Djokovic said at the trophy presentation after stretching his unbeaten run here to 29 matches.

"This definitely has been my most successful tournament in my career. I have won the Australian Open five times but Beijing has been a lucky place for me."

He has now beaten Nadal in seven of their last eight meetings, dating back to the 2013 China Open, and is on the verge of levelling their head-to-head record.

The pair have played each other 45 times with Nadal, who has struggled with his form and niggling injuries in the past year, hanging on to a 23-22 advantage. The world No. 8 took a medical time-out early in the second set when he hurt his right ankle but continued playing.

Djokovic was already well on top when Nadal hurt his foot. He broke the Spaniard's opening service game and fought off two break points on his own serve in the sixth game. He broke Nadal again and took the first set in 41 minutes, then ran away from his ailing opponent in the second.

Djokovic now has 56 career titles, eight of them this year, including the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open Grand Slam crowns.

"I have to say congratulations to Novak, he's having one of the best seasons in the history of our sport," Nadal said. "For me, it's also been a very positive week."

Earlier in the women's final, Garbine Muguruza defeated Timea Bacsinszky 7-5, 6-4 to claim the biggest title of her career and immediately set her sights on winning the WTA Finals in Singapore and becoming world No. 1. Following her second career title, this year's Wimbledon finalist is expected to soar to fourth in the rankings - just one point behind Russian Maria Sharapova.

"There are only three more (players) in front of me. It feels good. It feels that you're doing your things in a right way," said the Spaniard. "Three more. Three more."

Next up for the 22-year-old is the WTA Finals season climax in Singapore, where she has a chance to quickly cement her status as the next force in women's tennis.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2015, with the headline 'Nadal no match for Djokovic as Serb bags 6th China Open title'. Print Edition | Subscribe